Vaclav Havel (1936- )
Disturbing the Peace
- Born in 1936 in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic).
- Married Olga Splichalova in 1964 (d. 1996); married Dagmar Havlova, 1997.
- Attended technical college and later the Academy of Art in Prague.
- Served in the Czech army, 1957-59.
- Member of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted (VONS).
- Imprisoned four times since 1977 for dissent, including 1977, 1979-83, 1989.
- President of Czechoslovakia, 1989-92; president of Czech Republic, 1993--.
- Won numerous awards as a playwright and author, including an several Obie Awards(1970,
1984, 1986-86), the Erasmus Prize (1986), the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award
(1988), and the International Book Award (1991).
- Also received many awards for his political leadership and defense of human rights,
including the Avrell Harriman Democracy Award (1991), the B'Nai Brith Prize (1991), the
Freedom Award (1991), the Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Award (1991), the Indira Ghandi
Prize (1994), the Philadephia Liberty Medal (1994), and the "Future of Hope"
- Co-recipient (with German President Roman Herzog) of Statesman of the Year Award, 1997.
- Received honorary degrees from numerous institutions, including Columbia University,
Hebrew university, Harvard University, and Trinity College (Dublin).
Major Writings (available in translation)
Zahradni slavnost (1964) [The Garden Party (1969)]
Vyrozumeni (1965) [The Memorandum (1967)]
Ztizena moznost soustredeni (1968) [The Increased Difficulty of Concentration
The Vanek Plays [Interview, A Private View, and The
Largo Desolato (1986) [translation by Tom Stoppard, 1987]
Temptation and Redevelopment (1994)
Contributor to The Oower of the Powerless: Citizens against the State in
Central Eastern Europe, ed. by John Keane and M.C. Sharpe, 1985.
Vaclav Havel, or Living in Truth (essays), 1987.
Letters to Olga: June 1979 to September 1982 (correspondence), 1988.
Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvizdala (interviews), 1990.
Summer Meditations (essays), 1992.
A Word About Words, 1992.
The Art of the Impossible: Politics as Morality in Practice; Speeches and Writings,
Critical Sources and Reviews
- Biographical and critical information in the following Gale publications:
Contemporary Authors, Volume 104; Contemporary Authors, New Revision
Series, Volumes 36, and 63; The Cold War, 1945-1991, Volume 2 [biography
contains portrait]; Drama Criticism, Volume 6; and Contemporary Literary
Criticism, Volumes 25, 58, and 65 [volumes contain portraits]. Gale Literary
Database (Contemporary Authors Online) can be accessed online through a
subscribing library at www.galenet.com.
- Other sources for biographical or critical information:
Cyclopedia of World Authors. 5 volumes. Ed. by Frank Magill. 1997.
Vaclav Havel: The Authorized Biography, by Eda Kriseova, 1993.
Vaclav Havel and the Velvet Revolution, by Jeffrey Symynkywicz, 1995.
- Some reviews:
- New York Times Book Review, June 17, 1990 ("Speaking the Truth" by
Robert Brustein) and June 27, 1990 ("Books of the Times: Havel Discusses Writers and
Politics" by Herbert Mitgang), available in the New York Times Books Archive)
- Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1990, February 23, 1990
- London Times, June 8, 1990
- Times Literary Supplement, October 21, 1991
- Washington Post Book World, June 14, 1992
- Websites of interest
Retired Discussion Series